CAJUNS, CREOLES, PIRATES AND PLANTERS
Your New Louisiana Ancestors Format
Volume 3, Number 30
EXCELLENT BOOK: There are many genealogy and history books that need to be reprinted and introduced to another generation of researchers, and a good example of this has just happened with The History of Port Barre (1765-1950). This excellent book was done by Cheryl Bihn Myers in 1997, and it is one of those collectibles that should never be allowed to go out of print. It is now in a second edition and published by Claitor’s Publishing Division.
If you haven’t seen this one and want to check it out, you need to see if it has been added to the genealogical research section of your local library. A book of this type is needed when researching early family lines, and Myers had done a masterful job at preserving a little part of the history of the state of Louisiana. Port Barre is a fascinating part of our past, and its history has been brought back to life by such a quality undertaking.
Located on Bayou Courtableu, it started out as a steamboat landing, and once the period of the steamboats ended, this town refused to die. It became a timber town and later was developed even more with the arrival of the railroad. Oil discovery in 1928 was also a boost in the economy, and this brought in more families and more businesses. It has continued its growth in spite of major floods, fires, and the Civil War. Even today, it is a bustling town that continues to offer prosperity for its residents.
Jacques Guillaume Courtableu was in this area in the late 1700s and is said to have served as the commandant for the Poste de Opelousas. He was born in 1721 and died around 1774. His parents were Jacques and Catherine (Menu) Courtableu, and he was married to Marguerite LeKintrek in 1765. Their only daughter was Zoe, who married Luc Collins in 1782. There were at least 11 children of this marriage.
Alexander Charles Barre came to this area around 1770 from the Pointe Coupee area. He is listed on the rolls of the Militia of the Opelousas Post as a Creole, a name applied to the first generation of children born in Louisiana of European ancestry. He was married in Pointe Coupee in 1771 to Magdeleine Descuir or Decuir, a daughter of Jean Decuir and Genevieve Mayeax. The Barre family was from Canada and only spoke the French language.
The History of Port Barre (1765-1950) is one of those books that you can read like a novel and enjoy the history of the period as well as learn about all the families who lived in the area. When you learn that the Barre property was at the very beginning of Bayou Teche and learn of its location off Bayou Courtableu, you realize how important these waterways were in the founding of so many communities along their banks.
The boat landing on the Barre property was the center of activity for the new community that started its growth from this point, and it was from all this growth that the name Port Barre evolved. When the parishes were formed, this became a part of St. Landry Parish.
If you would like to learn more about this part of Louisiana and all the history involved in the settlement of the area, you may want to add this book to your own personal library. All the early families are covered, and Myers has offered a touch of charm to this book that you don’t see in many others of this type. It really is a nice addition to any genealogical library collection.
You can purchase this one from Claitor’s for only $38.50. Order Now!
FRENCH DATA: The French in the Americas, 1620-1820 by Dr. David Dobson identifies people of French origin living in the Americas, based largely on documents found in British government records. By the middle of the 18th century, an estimated 15,000 French colonists were living in Acadia, 55,000 in mainland Canada, and 10,000 along the Mississippi River from Louisiana and Illinois.
In the Caribbean the main French settlements were in Guadaloupe, Martinique, Cayenne, and St. Dominique. While the main sources on these immigrants can be found in French and North American archives, David Dobson has unearthed references to 1,500-2,000 settlers buried in British records.
For each immigrant named in this alphabetical list of immigrants, Dr. Dobson provides the following particulars: a date in the Americas, place, and the source of information. In many instances you will also find one or more of the following: occupation, dates of birth and death, vessel sailed upon, names of family members, and port of embarkation, and/or arrival.
This is just another example of the excellence you find in a Dobson book, and this is just one of many he has compiled. The price of this one is $20, postpaid, and it is in a soft-cover format. Order directly from Genealogical Publishing Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Road, Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21211-1953.
EARLY RECORDS: Don’t forget when researching early French records that there are a number of reprints at Claitor’s Publishing that you may want to check out. The ones I refer to are part of the group of books that Winston De Ville published and are now a part of the Claitor’s stock.
The first one that I recall as being rather important – because of the location – is St. Domingue, Census Records and Military Lists, 1688-1720. Many descendants now live in Louisiana.
Another that provides excellent information for researchers is Southwest Louisiana Families in 1785, The Spanish Census of the Posts Attakapas and Opelousas. Another important compilation from De Ville is Attakapas Post, The Census of 1771. There are others that contain lots of rare insights into early Louisiana history, and you can find them all listed along with prices at the main Claitor’s Publishing website.
FREE SERVICE: Correspondence to this column should be directed to Damon Veach, Cajuns, Creoles, Pirates and Planters, 709 Bungalow Lane, Baton Rouge, LA 70802-5337. The e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Queries and book reviews are printed as space permits, and you are encouraged to take advantage of this free service. Claitor’s Publishing can serve as a distributor for self-published genealogy titles. Go to their homepage for details on how you can obtain this excellent service.
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